Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Journalist manhandled by mining goons in Goa on International Press Freedom Day

Panaji, Goa. The Goa Union of Journalists(GUJ), in a press note issued
after an executive committee meeting held in Panaji on Tuesday,
condemned in strong words the high handed action of security staff of
mining company in Cauverm on Tuesday to detain, ill-treat, manhandle
Goan Observer journalist Gary Azavedo who had gone to cover the
on-going agitation against mining companies at Cavrem.

It is all the more shocking that this incident was taking place in
south Goa on a day when the GUJ members where busy in a function to
celebrate the International Freedom of the Press Day in Panaji. It
raises the serious question of freedom of press in the State.

If the mining company security felt that the journalist had
trespassed, the most legitimate course of action should have been to
lodge a police complaint and not to “shove the journalist in a jeep by
security personnel by force, manhandle him, threaten him to off-load
his camera, tear his bag, confiscate his cell and then leave him
stranded to walk back from the site office where he was taken for
enquiry,” as has been mentioned into his police complaint lodged by
Mr. Azavedo at the Quepem police station.

The GUJ has demanded that the Goa Government and the police should
take cognizance of the complaint and take immediate action so that the
freedom of media while covering people’s movements and agitations is

The GUJ executive has made it clear that the media will not be cowed
down by such intimidating tactics deployed by vested interests against
media-persons but GUJ will work to unite media-persons and mobilize
people to fight such tactics which are dangerous to democracy.

The GUJ has noted the promptness with which Inspector General of
Police Sundari Nanda acted when the GUJ President brought the incident
of "missing of a journalist who was on an assignment at Carvem mines"
to her notice on Tuesday afternoon and hoped that she will take firm
action on the complaint lodged by the journalist.

Prakash W. Kamat,
President, Goa Union of Journalists,

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